Research Shows Puzzling Variance in Young Adult Alcohol Consumption During Holidays

The conventional wisdom is sometimes skewed in favor of personal beliefs or prejudices. One example of this can be found by looking at young adult drinking patterns. Most adults – especially older adults and parents – would likely assume that younger people drink more during certain holidays than others. And, to an extent, this is very true. Given the high number of fatal auto accidents that occur around the holidays, involving younger drivers, it would seem that young adults drink more on holiday breaks.

But research from 2012 clarifies exactly how much and how often younger adults consume alcohol. The results may surprise you. The research was published in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Psychological Association. Here is what the researchers discovered.


Who Was Studied

The researchers selected 576 young adults, ages 18 and 19, from a four-county area of the Tampa Bay region. These young adults were involved in a longitudinal study to assess how they consumed alcohol throughout the year.  


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Memorial Day drinking isn’t quite the event it used to be with young adults.

What the Study Revealed

The study revealed that there were definitely specific times when the overall number of youths consuming alcohol spiked. Typically this was during holidays and school breaks. In fact, the study identified the following times when more participants reported drinking:

  • Labor Day
  • Christmas
  • Memorial Day
  • New Year’s Day
  • Super Bowl Weekend
  • Spring Break

However, even though more participants were drinking during these specific times, it does not mean those who were drinking actually consumed more than usual. What’s particularly notable is that the study revealed that most of these periods only showed minor increases in consumption, when compared to the participants’ normal drinking behaviors. The following national holidays or events were notable for not only having more young adult drinkers but also substantially more quantity consumed by those drinkers:

  • New Year’s
  • Fourth of July
  • Spring Break
  • Super Bowl


Times When Consumption Actually Decreased

So far, conventional wisdom would seem to hold true – like all adults, youths drink more during holiday weekends and big national events. But this is where conventional wisdom fails. The research actually showed that although more people were consuming alcohol during these times, the actual volume consumed went down during the following times:

  • Memorial Day Weekend
  • The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s (except for a brief spike for Christmas)


Summer Holiday Drinking Declines?

Strangely yes. The research seems to suggest that while more young people drink on the holidays, Memorial Day stands alone as a major drinking holiday on which a lot of younger drinkers simply consume less than usual…even if more of them are drinking.


Stay Safe and Call if You Need Help

The Krause and Kinsman Law Firm reminds you to remain sober when driving and always have a backup plan when you go out with friends. Kansas City auto accident lawyers are here to help if you get hurt by a careless or drunk driver anywhere in the Kansas City area. Call us or visit us online 24/7 to learn more or to schedule a free consultation.

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